Stockbroker meets stock breaker. But who's taming whom?
London stockbroker Jasper Randolph flies to Jackson Hole with hopes as high as the Grand Tetons. Hope that the getaway will force him to let loose, get dirty, and overcome a deep-seated phobia about horseback riding.
He hadn't counted on an attraction to the dude ranch owner's son, a man with sun-tousled hair, eyes bluer than Wyoming skies...and a father who'd rather eat tofu than accept his only son's sexuality.
The moment Calum lays eyes on the uptight, buttoned-down Brit, he's lost. But with his own saddlebags full of emotional baggage, he knows he should be looking at anything but Jasper's spotless riding boots and tight-fitting jodhpurs. Trouble is, Jasper makes his heart buck like a wild horse trying to break free.
Despite the differences that set them oceans apart, they fall hard and fast. Trouble isn't far behind, and they're in for a rocky romantic ride. Especially since there's growing evidence that someone is willing to do anything--no matter how dangerous--to poison their love.
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Samhain Publishing, LTD
February 07, 2012
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Excerpt from Cowboys Down by Barbara Elsborg
There was no sign of Jasper in the passenger window of the truck, but when Calum pulled open the driver's door, he saw him curled on the backseat and his cock twitched.
"Let me drive off the ranch and then you can sit up front."
As soon as they cleared the gate, he pulled up at the side of the road and Jasper came to sit next to him.
"Sorry and thanks," Calum said. He almost added "please" in there too, just in case.
"The subterfuge is because of your father?" Jasper asked.
"He won't accept that I'm gay. I feel bad about asking you to keep this quiet, but--"
"It's okay. I don't want to make trouble for you. Well, not in that way." Jasper grinned.
Calum gulped. "How about your folks?"
"My father's dead. My mother's in denial. She wants grandkids."
"Ah. Well, it's not impossible."
"No, not impossible," Jasper said.
They were both quiet for a moment and Calum wondered if Jasper was thinking the same as him, that he'd like kids one day and a home to share with a guy he loved. Maybe Angie could live with him and help look after the children. Which reminded him.
"Angie thought you were going to sit with her at dinner."
Jasper groaned. "She asked and I said I would. I'll apologize tomorrow."
"Talking of apologizing, sorry I rode off this morning without saying anything. I'm fairly certain my father called to find out where I was and then sent Ring to make sure I was showing you the appropriate flora and fauna."
"I'm not Ring's favorite person. Hell, I'm not anyone's favorite person." Calum sighed. "So are you riding again tomorrow?"
"Not if I have to go out with the dazzling duo. Unless I can take duct tape."
"Is this a gay bar we're going to?" Jasper asked.
"Christ no. There are no gay bars in Wyoming. Well, none that I know of."
"If you're different out here, you keep your head down and your mouth shut because people don't want to know. I went to a high school where no one spoke about being gay--well, not in a positive way." Calum didn't imagine it to be like that in England.
Jasper frowned. "That must make life difficult."
"Sometimes. Especially if you can't keep your cock under control. So I could be in trouble tonight."
Jasper's face creased in laughter, and Calum wanted to find a place to park, and then drag him into the backseat by his tie and kiss him.
"Did you have a problem at school because you were gay?" Jasper asked.
"Not at school. I wasn't gay when I was at school."
Calum sighed. "Well yeah, I was but I wasn't. I dated girls." He glanced across at Jasper but he didn't look surprised.
"Do you still date women?" Jasper asked.
"No." Calum pulled into the parking lot of the bar. "I don't date anyone."
When he got out of the vehicle, Jasper came round and sidled up to him. "So no kissing, no fondling and no touching while we're in here?"
"Not unless you want us to get beaten up." That tie might do it, all on its own.
Jasper straightened. "Are you serious?"
"Have you ever been--?"
"I'm hoping for plenty of kissing, fondling and touching later." Calum prayed Jasper accepted the deflection.
"I'll think about it." Jasper stalked toward the bar.
Calum chewed his lip. He wasn't sure if Jasper was upset he had to go back in the closet for the night. Maybe it hadn't been a good idea to bring him to a place where they couldn't be themselves. But then Jasper turned and beckoned him, mischief in his eyes, and Calum felt a weight lift from his chest.
He noticed the beaded bracelet dangling around Jasper's wrist as he reached for the door. "Angie's work?"
"I'm forbidden to take it off. It glows in the dark. She snuck it on while I dozed by the pool."
Calum laughed. "Asleep again?"
"I was thinking I might not get much rest later."
The look in Jasper's eyes was unmistakably carnal. Maybe coming here was a mistake. Calum should have just found somewhere they could fuck this out of their systems. He sucked in his cheeks and followed the guy in. Jasper was here for a week and that was it. This could be nothing more than a fling and Calum had to be satisfied with that.
They sat at the bar. Jasper ordered a beer, Calum asked for orange and tonic water. No way would he risk getting caught DUI. He had enough problems in his life. He hadn't been in this bar for years, but that didn't mean he'd remain unrecognized. The Neilson Ranch wasn't the biggest spread, but everyone in the county knew his father. No matter how far Calum drove, how obscure a place he picked, it only took one person to report he'd been in here and add the detail that he'd been sitting too close to a guy.
"Can I get you boys anything to eat?" the barmaid asked.
"Burger and chips...fries, please," Jasper said and Calum mentally groaned.
No one would mistake Jasper's accent. One detail Calum hadn't thought of. It was too late now. Fuck it, Calum didn't care. He wasn't going to spend the rest of his life doing what his father wanted without having some fun as compensation.
"Where you from?" the barmaid asked Jasper, looking at his tie.
"You as well?" she looked at Calum.
"Local. I'll have the same as him."
The drinks arrived and Calum looked on in envy as Jasper tipped the bottle to his lips, not sure whether he'd rather drink the beer or be the bottle.
"Want a mouthful?" Jasper asked.
Their fingers brushed as Calum took the beer, deliberate on both their parts. He stared at Jasper as he drank and Jasper stared back at him. Calum's cock began to harden as he thought about Jasper's lips on the bottle, on his mouth, on his dick. Fuck it.
He handed the beer back and shuffled farther under the bar counter. "Thanks."
"Oh Christ," Jasper whispered. "Why did you let me watch you do that?"
Calum smothered a laugh.
"What do you usually do for entertainment in the evening?" Jasper asked.
"Whatever the guests want."
A smile quirked Jasper's lips. "I should think so too. And when there are no guests?"
Jack off. "Watch TV." Jack off. "Listen to music." Jack off. "Mess around on the internet." And jack off. "And work with clay." Christ, how had that slipped out?
"Clay as in mud, not Clay as in long, lean and male?"
Calum glanced around to make sure no one was listening. "Modeling animals mostly," he mumbled. "Sometimes figures--cowboys." Maybe an English guy next.
Jasper's brown eyes opened wider. "Like Remington?"
Calum snorted. "Yeah, just like Remington. That's why I help run a dude ranch and still live with my folks. Nothing of mine has made it into bronze."
"Will you show me what you've made?"
He shifted in discomfort. "Okay, though most of my models are too fragile to keep. I tried baking a few, but it didn't work too well. It's expensive to get them cast. The nearest foundry's a couple of days' drive."
Now he'd told Jasper he'd looked into it. Shit. Out of sight under the overlap of the bar, Jasper's knee rocked against his.
"I wish I could do something like that," Jasper said quietly. "Use my hands and be creative. To squeeze and twist and bring a lump of something soft and pliable to life and make it go hard."
"Shut the fuck up," Calum hissed but he couldn't help laughing.
"That's what you have to do when you throw a pot, isn't it? You get your hands nice and wet. You draw up the clay taller and taller. Then you put your thumbs in the center and press down before you drag the thing up again. And you keep doing it over and over."
Jasper stared straight at Calum as he spoke. "Sadly all my erections eventually collapse, but they do it with a bang." He winked.
"Oh God." Calum's jaw twitched. "You're not fit to take out in public."
"How did a cowboy end up playing with clay?"
"Told you," Calum said.
"You have to tell me now."
"I fell, got plastered in mud and picked it off my clothes. I molded the bits into a ball and made a figure."
"How old were you? Twenty-five?"
Calum quietly growled. "'Bout eight."
"Do you draw as well?" Jasper asked.
"I'm not in the slightest bit artistic. I can't even manage a respectable doodle. They all turn out looking like--well, not decent."
Calum snorted. How come it felt so easy to talk to this guy?
Jasper took a swig of his beer. "My other problem with clay was that I didn't like--don't like--to get dirty. I blame my mother. She was obsessive about me and Ben being smart and clean at all times, mostly in case the vicar called. Ben was the rebel. I was the neat freak. Even now, I wouldn't dare turn up to see her not wearing a suit and tie."
"I like your tie."
Jasper smiled. "I wear it out of habit."
Calum kept his voice down. "I've been thinking of what bit of you I'd like to wrap it around."
When Jasper shuffled farther under the bar, Calum barked out a laugh.
Jasper groaned. "God, don't. I need food to distract me. I'm so hungry I've been thinking of chewing off my arm." He bent his head closer to Calum. "Or chewing on something of yours."
Calum sniggered. "You do realize that if we keep this up, neither of us is going to be able to move until they switch off the lights?"
The food arrived and Calum ordered more drinks. Jasper began to eat the burger with a knife and fork and Calum gaped at him.
"What?" Jasper asked.
"Nothing." Calum picked up his bun and sank his teeth into it. The filling oozed out and a slice of tomato dropped onto the plate.
"Hah." Jasper raised his eyebrows. "That could have fallen on your shirt."
"Men do not eat burgers with cutlery."
"Those who want to stay clean do. Anyway, I'm British. Everyone already thinks I'm weird."
And fucking gorgeous. Calum had known it was hopeless from that moment at the airport when Jasper had held out his hand. Nothing was going to stop them tonight.